Summer in southwest Florida is unbelievably hot. Summertime is the Floridian hibernation season, meaning that we find ourselves indoors cooling off more often than usual. Playdates are fewer, errands are sweaty. Daytime visits to the park are buggy, miserable. The plastic slides practically sizzle. If there’s not a body of water nearby or a splash pad, it’s just not worth the haul.
Before anyone lectures me on embracing Florida’s humid climate, let me assure you that I lived without air conditioning in my parent’s former home, a two-story farm house built in the early 1800s. The high-ceilings and hardwood walls and flooring made the rooms more breathable than you might assume. We did sweat constantly in the summer months, but all the sweat and the junebugs and the spinning fans made us feel very alive.
That said, I lived there during a point in my life when I had my body all to myself. Now that I am a mother, my personal space is pretty much assaulted every five minutes. I would say that sweating is familiar and refreshing for most Floridians; sweating with red-faced, fatigued babies all up in your personal bubble is not so refreshing.
Fall, Winter and Spring are decidedly mild in Sarasota: on occasion we will have a January day cold enough to warrant staying shut inside but otherwise most of us elect to be outdoors in our excessive winter wear. In the cooler months, it is easy to find friends who want to meet for a play date at a local playground, lay together on a blanket in the ever-present Florida sun, and (in my case) yell at my kids repeatedly to put on the damn hat that I knit for them because its finally cold enough to wear it.
Thankfully I live in a beach town and I have access to the glorious Gulf of Mexico along with a handful of pools, so maybe the word “hibernation” is a bit dramatic. We are not truly trapped by the immense heat. But going to the beach or pool to cool down is quite an event with young children and it’s not the kind of event I want to repeat daily.
These are hard times for extroverts. I know every person at our local grocery store by their first name simply because I invent reasons to go on errands and get out of the house. “Why, we seem to be out of skewers!” We extroverts need to make frequent contact with the community at large otherwise we get weird. I don’t have a live-in camera man to document the weirdness that ensues when my daughters and I suffer from summertime cabin fever. But if you want to get a feel for it, just begin by imagining a woman starting her day in a very sane way by sipping coffee and reading a novel alone in blissful silence. Then some time passes and eventually two tiny, menacing shadows appear in the hallway: the girls are awake. Every moment after that feels like a whirlwind of sounds, wants, needs, unnecessary costume changes, singing, random nudity, Good Night Moon, glitter nail polish, screaming, dance-offs, screen time, egg yolks, should we go to the pet store again and pretend to buy a puppy? squashed berries, spills, Go Dog Go, make believe, lectures, bath time, why is there goat cheese in the bed? lunchtime, disappearing bacon, paper planes, dress-up, Pee goes in the potty please, more dancing, yelling, lost bacon located, screen time, blocks, legs-up-the-wall, Go get the mail, markers, fingerprints, even more costumery, mandatory dancing, dinner prep. Somehow by the time the late afternoon rolls around, our Pandora station has led us us down a dark and strange path, and the woman who was sipping her coffee like a completely normal person at 6:00am has surrendered to the madness of summertime among extroverts and is standing on the couch attempting to sing both vocal parts to I’ve Had the Time of My Life. (My Bill Medley impression just involves a lot of shouting. DONT BE AFRAID TO LOSE CONTROL!)
I’m sorta kidding. Most days are not that bad. We swim a lot (obvi), we hit up the library constantly, we go to the botanical gardens. Only mad dogs and Englishman go out at high noon, but we do that, too. I like summer. Sunshine is like Prozac, y’all. Yeah, it’s kinda hard that play dates are scarce. But then again it’s rewarding to be with my girls and get to know them, their weirdest and wildest parts. Here’s to three more months of this nonsense.
PS- I haven’t written any posts on faith in a while because summer. But I hope to do that very soonish!